Capital punishment is the state‐sanctioned killing of a person convicted of committing a crime. Its existence as public policy requires the approval or acquiescence of individual citizens and social groups, and its implementation requires the approval, acquiescence, and participation of a wide range of individuals and institutions. Attitudes toward capital punishment ‐ as public policy and as applied to a particular situation ‐ are often strongly held and deeply felt. Debates on the morality and the effects of capital punishment ‐ again, as public policy and as applied to a particular case ‐ are often contentious and divisive. This course will address two related questions: (1) How do peopleʹs beliefs and attitudes about capital punishment develop as they do? (2) How do those who involve themselves, or become involved in, the implementation of capital punishment ‐ particularly jurors, attorneys, judges, and prison officials ‐ understand their participation?